Trumbull – R-85 (2) – Dear Polar Bears – July 21, 1940

About June 12th or 13th, Dan and Ced left Trumbull, driving the Willys, bound for Seattle. They were going to ship the car to Alaska, but if that turned out to be costly, they would sell the car in Seattle and board a ship for Anchorage, where they were planning on seeing the Stolls, who, Rusty Huerlin had told them, was hiring. 

Dan, Ced and car

Daniel Beck Guion and Cedric Duryee Guion with the Wyllis.

R-85                                                                                                                          Trumbull, July 21, 1940

Dear Polar Bears:

And I don’t mean Pall Bearers, as you might infer from the number of funerals I have attended lately. (This reminds me of Billy Parks telling us one day that his father had been a polar bear at a funeral.)

Dick has been a very busy boy during his first week at Columbia Phonograph. He worked overtime every night save one until 9:30, and presumably he will be paid time and a half for overtime. He did not have to work Saturday however. I saw Mrs. Kermode the other day and she told me young George was working very hard at the aluminum company plant in Fairfield and is getting about $35 a week. He is saving most of it to go to college with the idea of taking up medicine.

To come back to Dick again, he has brought home a Krupa ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Krupa )  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHr4XQ9SEcg )
hot record which one of the men at his plant gave him, and can purchase any records he wants at 40% discount, so that I suppose from now on my life will be hectored with hot music from these modern jazz orchestras, and you know how I’d love that.

Don (Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, who invited himself to Trumbull for an indefinite stay, because his mother was in the hospital and his father had a new wife and there were no young people where he was living) has been alone most of the week with both Dave and Dick working during the day, but is kept fairly busy cutting lawns. We all went to the movies Saturday afternoon, I seeing “Earthbound”   ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthbound_%281940_film%29 ) and the boys, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in “Andy Hardy Meets Debutante” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Hardy_Meets_Debutante ).

I am enclosing, in the hope that they will help you get jobs, the following material:

newspaper report of Dan’s Venezuela and experience.

C.C.C. certificate of merit of Dan’s survey work

letter of recommendation from the Tilo Company, (in Bridgeport, where he had been working)  for Ced

( I haven’t found a copy of any of these documents)

I see there is a New Federal Writers Project book out on Alaska, a guide to Alaska, I think it is called, which the Bridgeport library has not yet received but which I have requested when it arrives.

Your airmail letter, Ced, written on the 7th came through pretty promptly and was very interesting. The “great expectations” based on Rusty’s and the Stolls promises sort of dissolved in thin air. Reminds me of my story about not trusting anybody, even your own father. It speaks well, either for the stuff that is in you fellows or the favorable relation between the law of supply and demand in the labor market in Anchorage, that you fellows so promptly got work, even though, temporarily, it is not the choicest sort of jobs you might prefer. In your case, Ced, I think the Stolls have lost out on a good bet. I am not sure Dan would have liked that sort of work well enough to have stuck to it very long anyway. It should give you a safer feeling to know that there are funds back home you can requisition if you need them. Dick, from now on, will be paying me five dollars a week for your car and of course Dan has funds to his credit he has not yet requisitioned, and there is still more to come when we get paid by Ashcroft for his stencil cutting work.

I am rather surprised, after what I read, that milk does not cost more than it does here ($.10 a glass) as I understood dairying in Alaska is not much of an industry.

Have seen or heard nothing from Rusty, but from what Bruce said when I saw him last, Rusty is evidently still with Brita (his sister), and probably will remain there if he is depending on selling a story before earning enough funds to take him to Alaska.

I have not heard anything from the Huerlins regarding the camp (the Island in New Hampshire) and the necessary permission for the Boy Scouts to go up there the last two weeks in August. Dr. Shattuck asked me about it the other day, and thought it might be a good stunt if he got a phone connection someday and put me on to talk to them about it. Will keep you posted as to developments.

Don’t forget in writing that what may seem commonplace happenings to you is still very interesting news at home. And if each of you depend on the other fellow writing, we are apt to lose out on some of the things we would like to hear about. I still don’t know anything about the sale of the Willys.

Would you like me to send you a check next time I write just to tide you over the starting period?

I miss you both, and send lots of love, as you must know without my writing it every time.

Dad

Tomorrow, I will finish off the week with a glimpse of what Grandpa thinks about the Chicago Convention with an extract from Julius Caesar, Act I. 

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Dear Brigands Large And Brigands Small (1) – Dan In A Vicious Mood – June 11, 1944

Trumbull, Conn., June 11, 1944

Dear Brigands large and Brigands small:

It was a dark and stormy evening. Gathered around the campfire were Brigands large and brigands small. The Captain said to his trusty lieutenant: “Antonio, tell us one of your famous stories”. And Antonio began, as follows:

All right, all right, that’s enough. Don’t want to hear any more of that, hey? Don’t like to be reminded of your cheerless childhood days, Mary Morey, etc. Very well, if you’re so uppity about it we’ll come down to the present.

Surprise, got a v-mail letter from Dan last week, just when I had given up all hope of hearing further from him until the invasion stress was over. And guess what! He’s a T-4 now, which, according to the only way I can figure it, must be a cross between a Corporal and a Sergeant. The letter is dated May 21st, postmarked June 7th, received on the 9th. They evidently waited that long for the letter to cool off, but even at that, there were a couple of blisters on the envelope, and here’s why:

Daniel Beck Guion

“Today I am in a vicious mood because of circumstances beyond my control. The immediate cause: my being restricted over the weekend for something over which I had no control. We were invited to a dance on Friday night. The Special Service office sponsored the affair and allotted transportation to and from the dance. In good faith we accepted the invitation, but the trucks were late in returning to the Post and we were all restricted. I don’t understand how any of us, as individuals, could have gotten back earlier, no one, as far as I can determine, was put in charge. We had to return with the trucks and that they were late was not the fault of those of us who went as guests under the premise that ‘transportation would be furnished’. It seems doubly unjust during these trying days when we have so little time for relaxation and amusement”

I admit it sounds monstrously unfair the way you tell it, Dan, but this seems to be part of Army training and I’d like to bet you that each one of your brothers in the service has had similar experiences, if that is any compensation. It has its brighter aspects for me, however, because, were it not for this enforced idleness, do you think I would have gotten that letter? NO, chorus they all in loud voices. What a weight off my harried mind to know that you were well, if not particularly happy, on that date. I see you are still with the topo. bn., (Topographical Battalion) which has been of immeasurable comfort since D-Day, in the hope, mistaken or not, that such duties as you have been trained for will not be of such nature as to expose you to Nazi shot and shell. I suppose that is selfish, but if so, I admit it unblushingly. If you were my only boy I couldn’t want you safe and sound home again any more than I do right now. I’m glad you’re so near to “history in the making” but I also have that niggling feeling, “River, stay away from my door”.

The newlyweds, in flitting from roost to roost (After their visit to Trumbull, they travelled to Marian’s parent’s home in California, so Lad could go through the same process of meeting the family, as Marian had just concluded in Trumbull), have been too busy traveling and getting acquainted with the other in-laws to find time to write this week but I expect we’ll be hearing from them before long.

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan – Thanksgiving And Churchill’s Inspiring Oratory – November 29, 1942

The Old Homestead

The Old Homestead

Trumbull, Conn., November 29, 1942

Dear Dan:

That’s done it! The “pathetically yours” on your last letter, I mean. It would be an adamantine heart indeed that could disregard so mute an appeal to one’s innate sympathies. However, if the Thanksgiving dinner provided by Uncle Sam to you was within shooting range of the one Lad captured at Aberdeen, no sympathy need be wasted as far, at least, as the dinner is concerned. Of course the home surroundings, the spiritual accompaniment of friends and family which we like to believe has something to do with the occasion, was of course missing, and we here missed that as much if not more than you did.ADG - China - the good set

        The “company” china

          The only extra we had here were Jean (Mortensen, Dick’s girlfriend, and future wife, who lives in Stratford)  and Aunt Elsie (Elsie May Guion, Grandpa’s sister). Tomato Juice cocktail, olives, cranberry jelly, turkey, beans, sweet potatoes, Mince pie, cheese, nuts and raisins, fruit and cider with spice cakes, all served in the dining room on “company” china seems to successfully satisfy the inner man.

Today Lad was home again for his last visit prior to leaving in a day or two for points west. After dinner today we all sat around Aunt Betty’s little radio in the kitchen and listened to Churchill’s inspired oratory. (The End of the Beginning November 1942) November has been certainly a big plus as far as good news from various war fronts is concerned. If favorable reports continue through December, we will reach the threshold of the new year with higher hopes than we have enjoyed for many New Years past.

Elsie heard somewhere that Austin Batchelder had finally passed on to the great adventure. Events like this give one to pause and be thankful, that with as many young folks as we have in our own immediate family, all are alive and in good health. “And when the one great scorer comes to write against your name, He’ll write not that you lost or won but how you played the game”. And remember what the old Westerner said: “Life ain’t the holdin’ of a good hand but the playin’ of a poor hand well.” So much for today’s moralizing.

Dick has been running into a spot of trouble with his car lately. I say his car but it is really Dan’s which he has registered in Dan’s name and has been driving around since his own car kicked back on him. Yesterday seemed to be a clogged gas line and all this morning in the rain he has been trying to coax it to leave its anchorage (Word reminds me of Ced), somewhere in Stratford and return peaceably home.

I am getting considerably concerned about gifts for you boys’ Christmas. I have no idea where Lad will be on that day. And have not heard from Ced as to what he may need and yet we are told that packages must be mailed by Tuesday next to reach distant points in time. To complicate the situation, not only are products scarce (outside of clothing), but those still on sale are in many cases subject to priorities and for such reason not available. Lastly their high cost and accompanying low resources are adding a few more monkey wrenches in the midst of the complicated mechanism.

To sum it all up we are beginning to have it forced home on us that there is a war going on and we can’t expect to have things as usual. The only thing that doesn’t change is the hopes and good wishes for the future of his sons that is the main spring in the existence of their                                  DAD

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons, now in Red Lion, Pennsylvania (Dan), Flint, Michigan (Lad) and Anchorage, Alaska (Ced). 

Judy Guion

Life in Anchorage, Alaska – Itinerary and Job Prospects (2) – July 13, 1940

DBG - 1st letter from Anchorage, July, 1940

After the Fourth we both got jobs through the Employment Agency; Ced with Glover’s Super Service Station and I with Mrs. Baldwin as grocery clerk. Both jobs were temporary, at least as far as we were concerned. Ced has landed another job with Woodley Airways as General Service man. His pay is less than the Glover job, but he will get a toehold in Aviation, which is his aim. He starts work Monday with Woodley (July 15). I lost my job with Mrs. Baldwin yesterday at noon. She had found a permanent clerk, who may or may not last. She has had about five or six clerks since the Air Base began taking her men from her. She is hard to get along with, they say. The men usually quit after a week, or a few days. I got along very well with her, having been forewarned at the Employment Office that she was hard to work for.

I have three irons in the fire, each in connection with surveying. One is the Air Base here at Anchorage. Another is the Air Base at Kodiak. The third is the Civil Aeronautics Authority, which is putting in Air Beacons etc., all over Alaska. They do surveying work, of course, preliminary to construction. The latter job, I think, would prove the most interesting, since I would not be stationed in one town. The work is in the interior, and I would have a better chance to see more of Alaska, giant mosquitoes notwithstanding.

When we sold the car in Seattle, we needed the cash to buy our tickets. We had decided that the money in the bank in Bridgeport, which is mine, would pass to you, Dad, in payment for the car. Both Ced and I would feel better about the whole thing if you would buy a new car; at least one better than the Precocious Lemon. Ced saw a car like the Lemon sold for over $300 here!

Since leaving home we have received only two letters from you, Dad, one in Seattle and one in Anchorage. The latter was postmarked July 1, and is the only mail we have received since leaving Seattle! Either the mail is slow, or the letters have not been addressed properly (c/o Gen’l. Del., Anchorage, Alaska), we do not know. The only other mail was from Barbara and Jean, Seattle. (One from Barbie (Plumb, Dan’s girlfriend), two from Jean (Ced’s special friend). I have made a few inquiries, and it seems that airmail is best. A new service has been opened with Fairbanks, so that it is possible to send airmail from here to the states (“outside”) completely by air except from Anchorage to Fairbanks (train). It should not take any longer than five or six days, at the most. I shall send all my mail by air, and I should like to know how it fares. Our address, until further notice, will remain Gen. Del., Anchorage.

Dust, canning salmon, and drunken Indian women are the highlights of Anchorage so far. I don’t know yet whether or not I like it. I hope I can get to the interior, anyhow. Regards to all. Tell them to write. I’ll answer all letters received!

Dan

Ced sends hugs and kisses.

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will be posting the Memories of Richard Peabody Guion during the Early Years.

Judy Guion

Life In Anchorage, Alaska – Itinerary and Job Prospects (1) – July 13, 1940

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel  Beck Guion

Ced Guion

Cedric Duryee Guion

Hotel Hopkins

July 13, 1940

Dear “Outsiders”,

This is the first letter I have written to youse since leaving, and, although I have not yet become permanently settled, I can catch you up to me, at least.

I have noted a distinct interest in the two letters we have received from Dad about how far we traveled each day. I shall give you our itinerary, but first will qualify it by admitting that Ced might have told you already. I have left everything to him when it came to writing home while I (blush) have written only to Barbara (Barbara Plumb, his girlfriend).

(This is a list of all the places they slept on the trip west)

Thursday, June 13, Kane, Pa.

June 14, Draz’s barn, Chagrin Falls, Wisc.

June 15, Grain Field, Walworth, Wisc.

June 16, Peabody Farm, Wisc.

June 17, Frank Peabody’s, St. Paul, Minn.

June 18, Badlands, S. Dak.

June 19, Wildcat, Wyo.

June 20, Gillespie’s, Missoula, Mont.

June 21, Blewett’s Pass, Washington

June 22, Seattle, about noon. Slept on beach first night.

June 23 – 25, YMCA Hotel, Seattle

June 26 – 28, Inland Passage, arrived Ketchikan

June 29, arrived at Juneau 4:30 A.M.

June 30, arrived Cordova

July 1, arrived the Valdez

July 2, arrived Seward, took train to Anchorage.

July 2 – present, Anchorage (2 – 7 at Anchorage Hotel; 7 – present at Hopkins Hotel).

Our first afternoon in Anchorage we found Mr. Stohl who was tersely polite upon learning that we were friends of Rusty, but he said there was nothing for us at the mine but he was sure we could find work in Anchorage. We went to a few of the offices, and learned that new arrivals from  the “outside” (Cheechakos) were not being accepted on the Government’s Air Base project, since there was an ample supply of Alaskans who were looking for work, but it should not be hard to find other employment. We registered at the Employment Office, and were told that the Rail Road was advertising for men, their employees having left to get better wages with the Air Base. So Ced and I went down to the RR office next AM, underwent a physical examination, and were told that we could go to work after the Fourth. In the meantime, we discovered that any man who worked on the RR could not quit for a job on the Air Base, and no man who had quit the RR could return later! It seemed best, then, to post – pone the RR job until we had exhausted the other possibilities.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter with more job information and other pieces of news.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad – The Rover Boys Continue (1) – June 23, 1940

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) when in Caracas, Venezuela

R-81 June 23. 1940

Dear Lad:

No letter from you this week either, but I assume it is the mail and not you that is to blame. Perhaps I’ll have a letter tomorrow.

This past week naturally has been concerned principally with following the progress of the boys – – that is so much more wholesome than listening to unvarying disheartening news from abroad. They have sent postals every day although I have not been receiving them so regularly. Following is a resume of their progress to date as revealed by their dispatches.

1st day – June 13th – 459 miles to Kane, Pa., – About as far west as Buffalo and about two thirds of the way to Cleveland. I suppose they slept out as they mentioned mosquitoes.

2nd day – June 14th – Got an early start at 5:30 AM, near Ohio State line had the first flat. Arrived at Draz’s about noon and stayed there overnight.

3rd day –June 15th – Left Cleveland at 10 AM, skirting Chicago and slept in a grain field somewhere near the Wisconsin line.

4th day –June 16th – Off at 7:15 (Sunday) had breakfast at Madison. Arrived at Star Prairie where mother was born and were Kenneth Peabody lives, in the afternoon and stayed there all night.

5th day – June 17th – Arrived at St. Paul about noon and visited relatives there. Stayed overnight at Uncle Frank’s. Averaging 50 to 60 m.p.h.

6th day –June 18– Left St. Paul 9:30 AM and traveled until 11:30 PM, postal card stamped 6 PM, mailed it at Wolsey, S.D. slept in sight of Badlands. Are heading for Yellowstone.

7th day –June 19th – At 11 AM had a flat near Waste, S.D. and will probably reach Rapid City early in the afternoon.

They might reach Sheridan, Wyom. by dark. I figure that Thursday they will make the 170 miles easily to Yellowstone and will undoubtedly spend the night there and possibly all day Friday. The next day they should make Missoula, the day following Spokane and the next, Seattle. I’ll let you know next week how wide I have come of the mark.

Aunts Dorothy, Anne and Helen

Aunts Dorothy, Anne and Helen

Tuesday Aunt Anne called up and asked if she and the two children and Boots could pay us a visit. Of course I said yes and they have been here since. Yesterday afternoon and this morning I got them all working. Anne got the dinner, Gwen did a little light cleaning and the three boys (Dick, Dave and Don Stanley) helped me take down and put back the laundry tubs while I repaired the plumbing. Ced had brought home from Tilo some old tar that had overflowed and they were scrapping. We heated this up and poured it over the holes in the driveway that I had filled with stones. I hope it works. I am tired and dirty but with the satisfied feeling of accomplishment. This afternoon after dinner Dave and Donnie went up to Plumb’s to play tennis.

There are some rumors around about people who are suspected, wrongly or not, of “fifth column” activities. There are two people in Nichols who are the subject of a whispering campaign and my friend Eichner is also said to be involved. The payoff however is that the people of Trumbull are not in favor of the views held by Mr. Bollman and the talk is that they are going to reduce his salary in an effort to discourage him into leaving. I don’t know how much truth there is in this and I am not passing it on to anyone, even here in the family.

Tomorrow, I will post the rest of this letter. On Wednesday and Thursday, another letter from Grandpa to “My sons, everywhere”. On Friday, an Official-looking document date June 20, 1940, having something to do with the Camp at Anzoategui.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lewis and Clark – Dan and Ced have left For Alaska – June 14, 1940

Dan - 1938

Daniel Beck Guion

Ced - 1938

Cedric Duryee Guion

June 14, 1940

Dear Lewis and Clark:

Yesterday was a sizzling hot mid-August day here and if it was as hot on the road you must have thought you were traveling South instead of West. Today however has been an ideal June day – – so much so, in fact, that Dick decided to play hooky from the office and stayed home to carry on Dan’s landscaping work around the home grounds, incidentally giving Mack a bath between whiles.

I can hardly get used to the modest gathering around the supper table. Dave remarked tonight as he was setting the table that he kept finding himself getting out five plates, napkins, etc.

Can either of you throw any light on the mystery of my latest telephone bill, listing two calls to Cambridge on the 20th and 21st of May? I asked Don (Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody), Grandma Arla’s sister) who was here tonight, if you had called him up but he knew nothing about it. It’s all right if the calls were made but I don’t feel like paying the telephone company for calls charged to me in the amount of $.80 or so in error. Tonight’s mail also brought a bill from Mister Whitney for two flexible connectors and fittings totaling $2.50. Here ends the bad news.

Last night I sat down with the map and pencil and paper and tried to figure where you would be, when, and the result is enclosed. I sent you a postal this morning when I stopped at the store for mail, addressing it to New Richmond in the hope that it would reach you there, telling you to stop at the places shown on the slip for any mail I might send. I reasoned that if you got to Cleveland at all Thursday night it would probably be late, and still later before you turned in after chatting with the Draz’s, so that you would not get a very early start Friday. Traveling through big cities like Cleveland and Chicago slow up your rate with the probable result that if you made the 360 miles to Chicago by nightfall you would be doing quite well. If you got an early start Saturday and all went well, you might make the 420 miles to New Richmond and what with talking to the relations, etc., I doubted whether you would get away very early Sunday for the 450 mile trip to Bismarck, even counting on each of you “spelling” the other fellow in driving and possibly doing some night traveling. An average of 400 miles as a steady diet for a week is pretty tiresome as a daily schedule, so if you make Bismarck by Sunday night you will be doing right well. From here on, according to my geography, you will be getting into the mountainous country. From Billings to Butte you will have climbed to the top of the Continental Divide and then too, you may decide to make a side trip to Yellowstone. If not you can keep to your 400 mile a day average and will be in Butte Tuesday night, Spokane Wednesday and Seattle Thursday P.M. I will be interested to see from your return postals how near you will be to keeping the schedule. For your own sake I hope you don’t.

By the way, I wish you would send me the name and address of the mine in Alaska to which you are bound. I suppose I could write to Rusty (Heurlin) and get it, but you probably have it handy and can P.S. it on one of your postals.

Nothing else of moment to report so I shall retire to my sanctum santorum in the hope that Arnold will not violate it before I can don my B.V.D.’s. I hope you will sleep tonight as comfortably as I.

Hasta Luego, Dan, and good night Ced.

DAD

Tomorrow  I’ll be posting a letter from Grandpa to Lad, in two parts, and another to Dan and Ced on Friday.

Judy Guion

Early Years – Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (9) – 1942 – 1946

APG - Lad and His Outfit in Marseiles, France, 1945

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) and his unit in Marseilles, France. Lad is on the far left, standing.

After my Uncle Dan (Daniel Beck Guion) passed away in 1997, I realized that first-hand accounts of this particular “Slice of Life” would only continue to diminish over time. I needed to record the memories of my Aunt Biss and her brothers and share them with the family. This culminated in the idea of a Blog so that I could share these memories with anyone who would be interested in the personal histories of some members of The Greatest Generation.

Over a period of several years, whenever possible, I recorded the memories of my Dad and his siblings. 

I am beginning with the Memories of my Father, Alfred Peabody Guion, the oldest, and will continue each weekend with his Memories. Then I will share the Memories of his siblings, oldest to youngest.

APG - Lad and His Outfit in Marseiles, France, 1945

Alfred Peabody Guion (Lad) and his unit in Marseilles, France. Lad is standing on the far left.

Dan and I were both in France in 1945.  I had been corresponding with Dan and I knew he was going to be married on a particular day, I forgotten what it was, but I think it was in mid-summer.  I talked my Captain into a three-day pass but it was limited to Paris.  That was as far as I should go.  So I went to Paris and checked into the hotel.  I left my duffel bag there and put a little sack in my pocket with my toothbrush and that’s about it, I guess, maybe a comb, too. I decided to try to get to Calais (where Dan was to be married).  I didn’t know how far it was, maybe 50 or 60 miles from Paris, North of Paris, up on the coast.  I got a ticket on a train and the train went about five or six mph for about ten or fifteen minutes, then it stopped.  It stood there for a long, long time, then it went a little farther and it stopped again.  I was noticing that cars kept going by so I got off the train and hitchhiked.  I beat the train by a day.  I didn’t have much trouble hitchhiking.  An English soldier came along on a motorbike and asked me where I wanted to go.  I told him Calais.  He said, “That’s not far.  I’ll take you up there.”  So that’s how I made the last two thirds of the trip to Calais.  I had no trouble finding the house; it was Chiche’s (Paulette Van Laere) mother’s house, her mother and father’s house.  He was a pharmacist.  It was fairly late in the afternoon when I got there.  I stayed the night and the wedding was the next day.  As I recall they were expecting me when I got there.  The third day, my pass was up but I didn’t hurry to get back.  I went back to Paris on the train, and this time it went pretty well.  I grabbed all of my equipment out of the Hospitality Hotel and checked out.  I took the usual bus to go from Paris to Marseilles, but by this time, I was one day over my pass.  When I got back to camp there was nothing there, just damaged grass and fields.  Everything was gone!  I finally found an officer who was walking around and asked him what had happened.  He said that everybody had shipped out, Saturday, I guess it was, or Sunday.  I told him my name and he said, “Oh, yeah.  They tried to get a hold of you but the Hotel said they couldn’t find you.”  So he told me where to go and what to do.  I went to the location he told me about and they knew all about me.  There was another fellow there, Bob Mark.  I was with the 3019th and he was with the 3020th. He had been left behind to gather all the equipment.  I said, “That’s what I’m supposed to do.”   So Bob and I got together and found our equipment, we both belonged to the149th Battalion.  We got all the equipment rounded up, got it to the dock and finally were able to get a ship that would take it to Okinawa.  I think it took us close to a week to get everything ready and get aboard.  We started out but when we were about 200 miles from the Panama Canal, the word on the PA system was that the US had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima.  We got the message in the afternoon, and the next morning the ship turned around, went back out to the Atlantic and up the coast to New York.

Tomorrow, the final memories of the Early Years for Alfred Peabody Guion. Next weekend, I will begin with the Memories of Cedric Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

Army Life – Dear Pater, Old Bean – A letter from Dan in London – April 4, 1944

I don’t have very many copies of letters from Dan, but this one is interesting. He is stationed in London and makes frequent trips to Paris prior to D-Day. He is a surveyor and Civil Engineer so I wonder what, if anything, he had to do with the planning of the Invasion on that fateful day. I believe he was involved with making maps for the invasion. 

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel Beck Guion

4 April

London

Hello, again, Pater, old Bean! I am going to devote this first paragraph to a testimonial on the inspiration your letters afford – – which, however enigmatical it may seem on the strength of evidence, keeps me writing with greater regularity then the dictates of my erstwhile conscience! Particularly effective (in a supplementary way, of course) is your happy policy of quoting directly from letters you receive from other current Guion’s – and I suggest that you elaborate on this policy to the fullest extent. In the same vein I am more than delighted to receive snapshots of the family not only for my own delight but also to show proudly to my acquaintances over here. Apropos of that, I have hied myself to the photographer’s to have a series of pictures taken – 48 separate poses – portraying the several vagaries of expression at my command, but I must wait several days for the proofs, after which I shall select the most flattering profile and have an enlargement made and sent to you.

At this point I must dispel the “illusion of the good conduct medal” over which the General has caused such an unwitting stir. After discounting for my natural modesty, the facts still remain about like this: the “medal” is a red ribbon which adorns the breast of some 40% of all American soldiers. Although it carries a certain amount of significance, it seems to have been designed primarily to aid morale – a sort of reward for having stayed out of the guard house an average number of times. It is about as much a travesty on decorations as the E.T.O. ribbon we are required to wear as a reward for crossing the Atlantic under orders – or the yellow ribbon awarded to those who happened to be in the Army before Pearl Harbor. At home they might seem impressive, but in England, where  a ribbon means actual campaign experience, they border on the ludicrous and become embarrassing to explain. To knock the last prop from your pride (and thus undo all that the General has striven to accomplish) I must confess that I have never actually been given the ribbon, having been on furlough when the award was made.

So, when you receive the photograph I shall send you, no amount of scrutiny will divulge more than the lonely E.T.O. ribbon over my left pocket, where it must remain as a constant reminder to the British people that I have the guts to obey the U.S. Army when they told me I was going ”overseas”!

It is amazing how quickly my attitude has been altered by living for such a short while in England. I feel the strongest resentment against anti-British sentiment in the American press. The traveling Congressmen who created such a furor last fall were either acting with malicious designs on vote gathering among the large prejudiced group of Americans or else they were just ignorant rumor mongers. It infuriates me to hear anything said about the Americans by Britishers who have never been to America and I’m equally impatient with criticism of England by those who have not lived over here. Fortunately, most intelligent people see our differences in perspective but small things uttered by little people can produce mighty echoes, thus jeopardizing our personal relationships with each other but also perpetrating the sort of sentiment and resentment that has brought the world to its present state. Hate is not bred by understanding. I am quite fond of the British people. They take a hell of a lot of criticism when it is justified, and even much that is ill considered, but no people can be expected to smile and turn the other cheek when they are struck blows of ignorant prejudice. I have listened to complaints against America which I know to be widespread and utterly false, and I realize more and more how rarely a man is justified in passing judgment based on hearsay evidence. It is hard for the British to understand our customs. We feel the same way about their “teatime”, which brings their meals up to five per day – breakfast about seven, tea about 11 (with rolls or cake), luncheon from one to two o’clock, tea and sandwiches at four or five o’clock, dinner at seven or eight. And sometimes a sixth “meal” is taken before bedtime – a sort of tea-snack. So there.

Please try to find and send me a small brass brush for polishing buttons.

Dan

Tomorrow a quick note to Ced from Rusty Heurlin, and on Thursday and Friday, a letter from Grandpa to his sons far from home. 

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Danny (2) – A Long Letter from Fred Chion about Interamerica, Inc. – May, 1940

This is the second page of a long letter to Dan from Fred Chion, another Surveyor working for Interamerica, Inc. in Venezuela. Fred remained in Venezuela for a while after Dan left in May of 1939, and Fred is reporting some of the things that happened in the Company and to the workers in Venezuela.

Jim Pierce  and Lad Guion at Karnopp’s Camp in Venezuela

The Maxes, and Richard’s wife, left for the states at the beginning of the month of June, I moved in shortly afterwards and that began our worries. As usual, Max had not left enough money and by the end of June we were beginning to be worried.  Max promised that he would be back by the end of the month and a fortnight after he was supposed to have arrived here, Dick had used up what was left of the passage money in order to pay for our current expenses.  In the meantime, two of the boys had found employment, one with an engineering firm from the states, and the other with Texaco Oil Co., one of the other boys had left for the states, and there was Richard, another engineer, myself, my wife and child, left to worry.  During the month of March, in the meantime, Karnopp had been employed by the Ministry (MOP) for a railroad survey job which was supposed to have lasted 2 months.  To date, he has been working 6 months on it and it is not as yet finished.  He took with him the two boys that were working with him on the Coro line.  Max still had a good bank balance at that time and besides that, he still had some Bs. 20,000 to collect from the Ministry for the last payment.  When the balance was getting low, Richard started to send cables to New York to Max, but nary an answer.  He had hired a lawyer who had Power of Attorney for Max, and while he had the right to collect the money from the Ministry and pay us off, he would not do so unless he had explicit instructions to that effect from Max.  He sent a cable to Max asking him to tell him what to do with us, that we were no longer interested in working for his company, that the only thing that we wanted was to be paid off in full and return to the states, in other words, liquidate ourselves entirely from his company.  Max, as usual, did not answer for the simple reason that he wanted us to stay here to help his front.  He was telling everyone that his engineers had so much confidence in him that they were willing to wait until he received his next contract.  As matters stood, it was pretty bad.  I could have taken it on the chin and paid my own passage, lose out on the expense money that he owed me, and return home.  Another bad feature was that the Bolivars had greatly depreciated and while the legal exchange was still 3.19, they could not be had for that price and furthermore the government made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell dollars at a higher price than the official one.  Through the help of the oil people we were lucky enough to be able to buy some at 3.50, meaning that I would have had to take a 10% loss on the money paid to me.  Max had promised that he would take care of this matter while he was in New York and he did as he usually does all these things.

Tomorrow, the final page of this letter about “the boomerang strikes back”.

Judy Guion